Report of the Committee on Science, Technology & Faith to the 74th General Convention

SUMMARY OF THE COMMITTEE'S WORK

The redemption Christ brings is intended to bring healing and restoration, not simply to men and women in creation, but to the whole created order. The God who makes the world comes to that world to redeem a holy people in and for the world. With this understanding, the Committee on Science, Technology and Faith (ST&F) intends to bring before the Church concerns resulting from science and technology that bear upon the redeemed life of GodĂs people and their relationship with the whole of creation.

Toward this end, ST&F has chosen four areas for study and activity in the current triennium because of their immediate importance for the beliefs and communal life of faith. Four corresponding subcommittees have been formed:

The Subcommittee on Creation received endorsement for its Mission Statement (see Attachment A) at the June 2002 meeting of the Executive Council. Its educational agenda intends to assist the Episcopal Church corporately and Episcopalians individually in acquiring a more thorough knowledge of and appreciation for the Christian doctrine of creation, particularly in its Anglican expression. Subcommittee chair Robert Schneider is writing a set of essays on critical issues in science and religion for the Berea College web site (URL

The Subcommittee on the Ecumenical Roundtable works with similar committees from other churches and denominations to plan the annual meeting of the Ecumenical Roundtable on Science, Technology and the Church in Canada and the U.S. (Note: Before the Committee was appointed by General Convention 1997, several of its members were founders of the Roundtable in the mid 1980s.) The chair of this subcommittee is the convener of the Steering Board of the Episcopal Church Network for Science, Technology and Faith. This membership organization, with about 100 members to date, serves as a church-wide pool of expertise and experience, available, when called upon, to provide technical and scientific information and advice to other bodies of our Church. Consultants to the four subcommittees are drawn from the Network constituency.

The Subcommittee on Genetically Modified Foods has been considering such issues as the environmental and social impact of genetically modified crops, including their safety and efficacy in alleviating world hunger.

These topics were addressed in the national conference, "Genetic Engineering and Food for the World," held in January 2001 at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. An edited volume of essays from that conference is forthcoming. Beyond these topics, the subcommittee has uncovered a network of related concerns, all the more pressing since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Subcommittee chair made a substantive presentation on ˘food security÷ to the Executive Council Committee on National Concerns at its June 2002 meeting. This presentation served as the basis for the "Resolution on Food Security" that follows this narrative.

Computer technologist Bill Joy presented a public talk in February 2001 on "Robotics, Genomics & Nanotechnology," co-sponsored by the Committee on ST&F, at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. His concerns about the rapidity of technological development, and society's slowness to monitor and regulate it, prompted the Committee to monitor the areas. It is considering such topics as changes in the nature and understanding of life and death as computer-assisted replacement organs, for instance, become available, purporting to extend an individual's life, perhaps indefinitely.

Besides the G.E. Food conference and the public talk mentioned above, the Committee reports the following:

- 11/01 launch of the new electronic Newsletter of the Network for ST&F (URL http://home.earthlink.net/~smithmoran/)

- 4/02 program for the Ecumenical Roundtable, a practicum on effective educational writing in science and religion, with Jim DeLa (Director of Communications, Diocese of Southwest Florida)

The following projects, with their target dates, are well into the planning stage:

- Winter/02 launch of a pamphlet series in science and religion for parishes, perhaps with Forward Movement

- 4/03 hosting the Ecumenical Roundtable on Science, Technology & the Church, Roslyn Conference Center (Diocese of Virginia)



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